Thiruvananthapuram: In a huge embarrassment to the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, its spokesperson Tom Vadakkan, once a key aide of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, joined the BJP on Thursday and attacked his former party for its stand on Balakot air strikes.
The 61-year-old senior leader put an end to his two decades long association with the party, saying he was “deeply hurt” after the Congress “questioned” the integrity of the armed forces.
"The attack by Pakistan on our land and the reaction from my party was sad indeed. I left the party with heavy heart. If a party is working against national interest, then there is no other option but to leave it," he said as he joined the saffron party in the presence of BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.
In an apparent attack on party chief Rahul Gandhi's leadership of the Congress, he said he gave the party two decades of his life but it has now resorted to a practise of "use and throw".
Ironically, until two weeks ago Vadakkan had been expressing confidence about his potential candidature for the upcoming polls from Kerala’s Thrissur district, the place he hails from. But the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) leadership was allegedly favouring names such as V.M. Sudheeran, T.N. Prathapan and K.P. Dhanapalan.
A media consultant-turned-politician, Vadakkan he never came into close contact with the grassroot-level politics. In 2009, his close association with the Congress high command and a likely candidature in the Lok Sabha elections had raised many an eyebrow.
After the Congress came into power, he became a close confidant and a personal assistant to then Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Later he was elevated to the stature of a spokesperson.
He worked as a media consultant in corporate and government sectors for over 15 years and later served as a media consultant to defence minister/petroleum minister. He was also the director of Trans (media) India.
Born on April, 20, 1958, he holds B.A. and M.A. in English literature from Delhi University. He later also did a Ph.D in mass communication.
Vadakkan worked under various capacities as the convener of News Watch and a member of National Grievances Cell where he used to report to the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. He then became secretary of AICC in-charge Media. He was the chairman of Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Science (Delhi University) for seven years then also the chairman of Deen Dayal Upadhya College (Delhi University).
He was also the member secretary of HOPE (accredited to UN) and adviser of All India Consumer Forum, a member of National Central Film Censor Board and a delegated Member of Kerala Film Censor Board.